Federal government targets scam calls

Phone scammers are in the Federal Government crosshairs, under a crackdown targeting criminal organisations overseas.

Government trials have begun to end fraudsters’ attempts to end the calls, that had been rising since the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) launched a review into the problem 18 months ago.

The first trial has already been launched with the telecommunications industry working and ACMA working with the government to stop growing numbers of overseas calls pretending to be from organisations like the Australian Tax Office or NBN Co.

Some of the other scammers have also been identified as those leaving voicemails asking victims to call back a premium number.

“They (ACMA and telecommunications industry) will be using software and technology within their networks to identify these calls and seek to block them before they get to the customer,” Communications Minister Paul Fletcher said.

“It’s already started to reduce the number of calls coming into Australian homes.”

Mr Fletcher said that the next goal of the government would be Wangiri scam calls, defined as being one ring and drop.

“You get one ring on your phone from an overseas number. You pick up the phone to call back and it’s a premium rate number that you’re being directed to, so you end up being charged a lot of money,” he said.

The third of the trials would target overseas carriers sending large numbers of calls to local telcos.

Mr Fletcher said the best thing to do was to avoid the calls.

“When in doubt, don’t pick up the phone,” he said.

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